Stolen iPhone 4 Prototype Investigation Wrapping Up

Authorities are close to finishing their criminal investigation into an iPhone 4 prototype Gizmodo purchased ahead of the official product launch. As part of the investigation, police recently interviewed Apple CEO Steve Jobs, too, according to CNET.

Once police finish their investigation, which will likely be in the next few weeks, the San Mateo County District Attorney’s office will decide whether or not criminal charges should be filed in the incident.

The tech blog Gizmodo found itself in the spotlight earlier this year when it bought an iPhone 4 prototype that an Apple employee lost in a California bar. The blog posted photos and videos of what it said was the next generation iPhone. Gizmodo eventually returned the prototype, but not until after Apple’s legal department contacted the company demanding its return.

Gizmodo eventually found itself in the spotlight again when police executed a search warrant at the home of Jason Chen, one of the blog’s editors. Authorities confiscated computers, hard drives, iPhones and other items from his home as part of a criminal investigation.

Gizmodo and its parent company, Gawker Media, claimed the search warrant was invalid because “search warrants may not be validly issued to confiscate the property of a journalist” in California. The police, however, didn’t see the state’s journalistic shield law as an issue since they were investigating whether or not Mr. Chen had been involved in a crime.

Authorities later returned Mr. Chen’s property and Gawker Media agreed to cooperate in the criminal investigation.

Police aren’t saying exactly when they plan to finish their investigation and turn the case over to the District Attorney’s office.